No other conference in college football produces first-round NFL draft talent quite like the SEC.
On Monday, ProFootballFocus released its first mock draft for 2017, and its Round 1 projection is comprised mostly of SEC talent. In fact, five of the top 10 picks are from the SEC.
The two highest rated prospects from the SEC are edge rushers Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) and Derek Barnett (Tennessee), who are ranked No. 2 and 3 in the mock draft, respectively. Garrett, a 2015 All-American, led the SEC in sacks (12.5), tackles for losses and forced fumbles.
Though Barnett had 10 sacks last season, the experts hinted he needs to work on his athleticism.
For the second consecutive year, Florida may again produce another top 10 cornerback in Jalen Tabor, who is picked to go at No. 5. Continuing with talented pass rushers, Missouri’s Charles Harris is slotted at No. 6 and received high praise for having “perhaps the best spin move in the nation.”
LSU’s Leonard Fournette is the top-rated running back in the mock draft at No. 7. Here’s how he is billed:
Just as freshman to sophomore year was a massive development jump for Fournette, another step forward could vault him into one of the best running back prospects in years. Whether that occurs or not, simply seeing more out of him in the passing game, from route variety to pass protection, will diversify his skillset as it’s still a pass-first NFL and those skills are vital to warrant a top-round pick.
Also included in the mock draft is Alabama DT Jonathan Allen (No. 11); Arkansas DE Deatrich Wise (No. 14); Alabama DE Tim Williams (No. 19); Georgia RB Nick Chubb (No. 21); Auburn DE Carl Lawson (No. 24); Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey (No. 25) and Vanderbilt ILB Zach Cunningham (No. 31).
In total, 12 of the top 32 players in the mock draft are from the SEC.